Adityanath Govt To Withdraw 131 Muzaffarnagar, Shamli Riots Cases; Opposition Criticises Move
March 23rd, 2018
The Yogi Adityanath led-BJP government on Thursday began the process of revoking 131 cases linked to 2013 Muzaffarnagar and Shamli riots, all of them filed against members of one community.
This sudden turn of events is after CM Yogi’s February meeting with a delegation of Khap leaders from Muzaffarnagar and Shamli, including BJP MP Sanjiv Balyan and the party’s Budhana MLA Umesh Malik, who had presented a list of 179 cases in the Muzaffarnagar riots and sought to withdraw them.
“All the accused in the list given to Adityanath were Hindus. In the meeting with the chief minister in February, I requested him to consider the withdrawal of 179 cases, in which over 850 Hindus were held accused,” Balyan said, reported Scroll.
Balyan further added, “The cases include those of arson, attempt to murder and damage of properties. No murder accused were on the list.”
On the contrary, MLA Malik said that there were murder cases on the list as well.
Seeking details of information on 131 cases, UP Law Department on February 23 sent letters signed by Special Secretary Rajesh Singh to the district magistrate of Muzaffarnagar and Shamli.
Documents revealed that the Uttar Pradesh Government withdrew cases including the charges against IPC sections related to “heinous” crimes for which an accused if found guilty can be sentenced to up to seven years in jail.
Moreover, there are 16 cases under section 153 A on charges of promoting enmity on religious grounds, and two under section 295 A for deliberate and malicious acts intended to insult religion or religious beliefs.
Early this year, the Adityanath government had written to the district magistrate seeking to withdraw nine criminal cases pending in a court in Muzaffarnagar against BJP leaders in connection with the riots.
In fact, in January, the UP government had written to Muzaffarnagar district magistrate and the senior superintendent of police for their view on withdrawal of cases.
UP Minister Suresh Rana, former Union Minister Sanjiv Balyan, Bijnor MP Bhartendu Singh, Budhana MLA Umesh Malik and party leader Sadhvi Prachi were among those accused of being involved in the Muzaffarnagar riots.
When referring to the above new report to the Uttar Pradesh Minister of Law and Justice Brijesh Pathak did not give a specific reply and said, “The Yogi Adityanath government may withdraw riot cases if they are ‘politically motivated’,” reported The Hindu.
“Riot cases are also registered under the IPC. If these are politically motivated, we will surely consider their withdrawal,” Minister said.
“He has decided to withdraw those cases which were filed due to political reasons. We have initiated a process in this regard. The State government is withdrawing the cases lodged because of political rivalry,” he further said, reported The Tribune, adding that the state government had received applications from leaders of several parties.
“I have the entire list (of leaders) with me. More than 62 lakh cases are pending in various courts. It is a serious issue. We will withdraw cases that certainly were filed on extraneous considerations,” he said, according to Hindustan Times.
What is the procedure for withdrawal of cases?
Lawyer Umesh Kumar said, “There is a procedure under section 321 of the code of criminal procedure under which the state government withdraws cases. The application for withdrawal of cases has been forwarded to the district magistrate of the respective district.”
Once the state government gives its approval for withdrawal, the public prosecutor will move a petition in the district court. However, senior lawyer in Allahabad high court IB Singh said, “The public prosecutor has to convince the court that the withdrawal of the cases is in public interest.”
The 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots
The communal clashes in Muzaffarnagar and adjoining areas in August and September 2013 had left more than 60 dead and rendered 50,000 homeless.
Following the violence, a total of 503 cases were lodged against 1,455 persons at Muzaffarnagar and Shamli Police Stations.
Reportedly, hardline Hindu leader Adityanath was himself accused of being involved in inciting communal violence in Gorakhpur in 2007. His government refused to sanction prosecution against him in May 2017.
No order of reinvestigation was issued into the allegations by the CBI on February 28 due to the refusal by the Allahabad High Court.